One of our Peer Mentors, Ian Gaskin, explains why getting involved in Golden Key has been such a turning point in his life:
“When I found Golden Key Peer Mentoring, I was at a point where I wanted to give something back and to give hope to someone who needed it. I felt it was important to be able to share my experience - I’d been there, done that, and got the t-shirt.
When I met people at the service I felt a sense of togetherness and could see hope in people’s eyes. It’s been amazing to see people whose life had been in difficulty a few years ago, but are now bubbling with life. No one is more important than anyone else – no judgment, just friendliness and a feeling of being in it together. I was a person who always blamed my past. Sometimes I’d be angry, not at people but at myself, and thought life owed me something. That’s now changed. Since I’ve done the peer mentor training I’ve been able to let things from the past go with the insight I’ve gained.
Being a peer mentor means that you’ve got responsibilities. It’s hard work, but hard work means that it’s rewarding which makes it all worthwhile. I’ve also learnt that what’s really important about looking after your mental health is talking to others and engaging with them. When you sit on your own you can become isolated, so communicating with others can take you out of that mindset. To me, good mental health is all about communicating. Peer mentors can help in this area. What’s more, if you’ve been through something, and you use that experience to help someone, then it comes across as truthful. Society needs more of this. I’ve come from a place where I don’t think many would have survived, and now my goal in life is to help other people. If I can do that, my job is done.
Golden Key has given me strength, hope, understanding, and a new direction. I’m now a peer mentor, and I’d like to be a support worker in the future. Without Golden Key I wouldn’t have got the chance.”
To find out more about our Peer Mentoring Service email the Peer Mentoring Team: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peer Mentor Iain